Friday, 19 December 2014

Book Review: Rift (Nightshade Prequel #1) by Andrea Cremer

Series: Nightshade Prequel #1
Publisher: Philomel
Publication Date: 07 August 2012
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Fantasy
Length: 430 pages



Overview:

Sixteen-year-old Ember Morrow is promised to a group called Conatus after one of their healers saves her mother's life. Once she arrives, Ember finds joy in wielding swords, learning magic, and fighting the encroaching darkness loose in the world. She also finds herself falling in love with her mentor, the dashing, brooding, and powerful Barrow Hess. When the knights realize Eira, one of their leaders, is dabbling in dark magic, Ember and Barrow must choose whether to follow Eira into the nether realm or to pledge their lives to destroying her and her kind.


With action, adventure, magic, and tantalizing sensuality, this book is as fast-paced and breathtaking as the Nightshade novels.


~ Official Book trailer ~






Previous reviews:
Nightshade (Nightshade #1)
Wolfsbane (Nightshade #2)
Bloodrose (Nightshade #3)

My Review:

I decided to continue the Nightshade world reading binge! It's easier to stay connected with the characters while you are still in the series world. 


Rift is quite different to the Nightshade series. It is more of a historical fiction type setting but is still quite the adventure. Initially I wasn't too interested in Rift when I read the sneak peak chapter at the end of Bloodrose, but then I read Aftermath and the link there between the characters and the stories peaked my interest. So I gave it a shot. 


Characters & Story line: 5/5


The characters Andrea creates in Rift are so different yet so amazing. There is a bit of a triangle in the story but it keeps it interesting. 



Ember is brave, strong and independent. I enjoyed how she handled any obstacle thrown her way. I feel a bit sorry for Alistair. I do think his love for Ember is a bit selfish but his heart is in the right place. Barrow is a strong warrior, Ember's mentor and probably one of my favourite characters. 



Eira & Cian - The weird sisters. The main female warriors of the Guard. I enjoyed how even the noblest of intentions can lead one astray. I found it fascinating the watch how Bosque Mar managed to reel Eira in. 


Plot, Pace, Writing style: 5/5  
Andrea's writing style and ability to weave amazing story, taking you a thrilling adventure and leaves you breathless. You are kept at the edge of your seat as everything unfolds and you see how everything began before the Keepers & Searchers. 

Cover talk: 4/5 The Cover is gorgeous and paints the perfect picture of Ember. 

Final Thoughts: Rift ends on quite a cliffhanger and exactly halfway through this story of how everything began. I cannot wait to see everything come together in Rise. 

My Rating:

Books in the series / Other books by this Author:








Author Bio:
Andrea Cremer is the author of the internationally bestselling Nightshade series. She spent her childhood daydreaming and roaming the forests and lakeshores of Northern Wisconsin. 


Andrea has always loved writing and has never stopped writing, but she only recently plunged into the deep end of the pool that is professional writing. Before she wrote her first novel, Andrea was a history professor at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. In her books, she strives to bring together her two passions: history and fantasy. Andrea now lives in New York and writes full time.


Author Links: Goodreads l website l twitter





Love

Chanzie



Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Book Review: The Fairy Godmother's Guide to getting what you want by Donna McCallum

Publisher: Zebra Press
Publication Date: 01 September 2013
Genre: Motivational 
Source: Purchase (Kalahari.com)
Format: ebook
Length: 245 pages


Overview:

The Fairy Godmother's Guide to Getting What You Want is a self-help book with a difference. It does not claim to offer a quick fix - rather, it offers everyone who is willing and ready to take responsibility for their lives guidelines to living the life they want. By stressing the importance of connecting body, mind and spirit, discussing these three systems in depth and providing practical exercises, you will be able to bring these three dimensions into alignment so that you, too, can lead a fulfilling, rewarding and purposeful life.




My Review:


I am very blessed to have met Donna, South Africa's very own Fairy Godmother! I first discovered her in an article in the Glamour magazine and then went on to do the Money Magic course through Fairy Godmother Inc. I discovered Donna had written a book and picked it up on Kalahari.com the very next day for only R 60.00! 

The first part of the book is Donna's story. I wanted to cry - it felt like reading my own story, it hit that close to home and with the things I wanted to achieve in my life. The way she wrote about how she felt... was the exact way that I felt at that moment in my life. I decided to work through the book at a slower pace and do every single exercise - no matter how long it took me. Sometimes when I read through these types of books I just skim the exercises and make mental notes. Nope not this time - I did every single one of them. And you know what?? They work! Every thing she describes and explains makes so much sense. Life is all about balance. Not just emotional balance, but emotional, physical and spiritual. 

I will be getting this book in PB sometime soon and will make sure to ask Donna to sign it for me *tee hee*

Final Thoughts: This is a truly motivational and life-changing read. One I will surely re-read again and again!

My Rating:



Author Links: Goodreads l Twitter l Website


Love

Chanzie

Monday, 15 December 2014

Author Interview, Book Blitz and Giveaway: Shinigami Eyes by Cheree and Adam Smith





Shinigami Eyes
(Shinigami Eyes #1)
Most children hope to grow out of their imaginary friends.
17-year-old Rin Waters’ only hope is that hers doesn’t kill someone, especially when said imaginary friend puts a boy in a coma. Finding herself shipped half-way around the world—to Japan, of all places—she is forced to live with grandparents she hasn’t seen for ten years and a cousin she can’t even remember.
Rin would rather just forget about the one night that ruined her life and pretend her imaginary friend doesn’t exist—if it was only that easy. When manga-obsessed otaku, Matt, won’t stop pestering her about a manga that sees the future and the tragic accident she’ll be involved in if she doesn’t listen to him, pretending becomes quite a challenge.
Suddenly mysterious accidents begin to happen to students in her school, and Rin has to wonder what length Matt is willing to go to prove his manga is real. Is it all a sham or is there really something that wants to see Rin and her new friends dead?
Amazon
Add Shinigami Eyes to your Goodreads list!

~ Author Interview ~


Hi Cheree and Adam! 

Welcome to the Mean Who You Are Blog.

Here are a few questions so your readers can get to know you a little bit better:

1: What is the best thing about writing together and being co-authors? 

Cheree: I would have to say the brainstorming… I have always had this even before co-authoring with Adam, be it with Adam or with my sister, but since we started working on Shinigami Eyes I have learnt that it definitely helps to have two heads to be able to talk through any plot problems to find solutions.

Adam: The best part of working together is being able to bounce ideas off each other. It’s always interesting to see what we can come up with when we put our heads together.

2: What was your biggest challenge writing together and being co-authors? 

Cheree: Stubbornness. I have a bit of a habit that when I really like something it’s very hard to change my mind, and a lot of our arguments stemmed from Adam wanting to alter the plot or character and I was determined that it had to stay the same… even though I caved most of the time after Adam presented a very good case as to why a change was good.

Adam: That would be the times when we disagree on how something should be handled. Or at least think we disagree. Getting into arguments with one another has to be the biggest challenge.

3: List your dream cast for Shinigami Eyes

Cheree:  Since Adam’s going anime, I’ll do the live cast:
Rin: Sophie Wu
Matt: Ross Lynch
Haruka: Tomomi Itano
Miki: Mariko Shinoda
Misa: Honda Miyu

Adam: I would love to see Shinigami Eyes adapted into a proper anime, so I’m going to name some Japanese Seiyuu (voice actors) that I think would be awesome. I would love to see Daisuke Ono as Matt, Yui Horie as Misa, and Yukari Tamura as Rin.

4: Any advice for young aspiring authors out there? 

Cheree:  To read (everything), especially the novels in the genre you want to write in. Reading actually makes you a better writer. You can’t be a writer if you don’t like to read.

Adam: Be willing to listen to that little voice that whispers “well, what if?”, you never know what is going to work unless you try.

5: Do you having any (quirky) writing routines or habits? 


Cheree:  Having a busy life I don’t actually have any writing routines, although I do have a playlist on iTunes ready that’s full of music to give me inspiration. I have learnt to write wherever I can, whether it’s at home, at uni or on the train. Anywhere I have a laptop is my writing space and I make good use of it.

Adam: I tend to let the characters run wild. If I get the sense that a character wants to do something, I’ll let them do it. I rarely know where a scene is going while I’m writing. What happens is as much a surprise to me as it is to anyone else.

xxx


~ Shinigami Eyes Excepts ~

Cheree's favourite scene

“Hurry, Rin-chan, we’re going to be late,” Haruka yells, diving from the train before the doors have even finished opening.
I try and shove my way through the pack of harried commuters crowding the doorway before I lose sight of Haruka. One little train delay, and suddenly everyone is in a rush. It was only like three minutes tops. Maybe ten. Now it looks like we won’t even be stopping for food, in case we’re late for Juku. This sucks.
I watch Haruka tear off up platform, ducking and weaving between pedestrians like she’s trying out for the Olympics. I lose sight of her and suddenly she’s at the far end of the platform. I have to run or else she’ll leave me at the station. I don’t know the way to Juku on my own. Not that I want to go there, but still.
I stop at the top of the stairs, huffing and heaving. I’ve never done so much running in my life. Peering down the steep flight of stairs, I catch a brief fading glimpse of Haruka disappearing down the far end of the hallway like a white rabbit down the rabbit hole. I’m never going to catch her now.
“No. Stop. Wait.” Sucking in a breath, I mutter weakly.
Well, I tried. Maybe if I find a nice place to sit down, she’ll come back for me. Like a McDonalds or something.
A hard shove lands on my back, and I feel the ground fall out from under my feet. My foot catches on the edge of the step, and a sharp jolt race up my leg as I suddenly become airborne. Everything slows and my panicking brain struggles to comprehend my newfound ability to fly. Countless stairs drift by before my eyes as I watch the concrete floor creep up to greet me. Screaming, I squeeze my eyes shut and await the inevitable thud against the hard surface below.
 A firm hand grabs onto me, and I thud into something soft instead.
When I gather up enough courage to finally open my eyes I come face to face with the broad chest of the boy—young man—who caught me. His dark hair hangs casually over eyes brimming with concern.
“Are you okay?” he asks, carefully repositioning his grip on me. His black woollen jumper ripples against his lean, athletic body as he gently lowers me to the ground. The black jumper and faded jeans stretched across well-maintained muscles gives him a look I can only describe as roguish.
“I’m fi—” I start to say, but end up biting back a scream when I try to stand up.
“You are not.” He grasps my ankle.
I cringe as pain shoots up my leg when he moves the ankle back and forth.
“Here, lean on me until you can walk.” The guy pulls me into his arms and starts leading me away from the stairs.
I glance back and think I see a certain blond lurking at the top of the stairs, glancing everywhere and looking shifty, but when I look again he’s gone.
“Hiro~shi~, why’d you run off on me like that?” an incredibly whiny voice calls out as soon as we enter the station proper, and a girl with wavy copper-tone hair comes running over to meet us. The instant she sees me clinging to the guy, a look of pure murder enters her eyes. “Get your hands off of my boyfriend!”
Freaked by the sudden anger directed at me, I reflexively start trying to bury my face into the guy’s chest. This doesn’t seem to do anything to lessen the girl’s rage, for some reason.
“Ease off, Sakura. She fell down the stairs, and injured her ankle. I’m just helping her walk.” He gives her a crooked grin and the girl seems to calm down. “You’re lucky I’m fast on my feet or things could have ended up a lot worse.”
The girl, I belatedly recognise as Sakura, leader of the music club, the one who didn’t show up to club today, turns towards me, and I could swear a scowl tugs at her lips before it’s replaced by a warm smile. “Are you alright, Waters-san?”
“I’m fine.” I try to push myself to a standing position. Away from her boyfriend.
“Oh, so you two know each other then?” Hiroshi frowns at my wobbly distancing and grabs my shoulder to keep me upright.
“Yes, Waters-san joined the music club yesterday. She’s my newest kouhai,” Sakura adds in a sickly sweet voice, still unhappy about my proximity to Hiroshi beneath her friendly grin, but at least no longer looking for a knife to stab me with.
“Found her! She’s over there hugging that boy!” a sudden cheerful voice shouts loud enough to attract the attention of several passing commuters.
Sakura looks ready to snap, and I almost tumble back onto my ass trying to put as much distance between me and her as possible. Hiroshi just laughs and grabs my hand to keep me from falling as a distraught looking Haruka and a way too happy Miki come bounding over to us.
“Rin-chan, gomenne.” Haruka stops in front of me, taking in my awkward stance between Hiroshi and Sakura. “I-turned-around-and-you-weren’t-there. I-looked-everywhere. Where-did-you-go? Miki-chan’s-been-helping-me-look-for-you.”
I can only blink as her hyperspeed rundown washes over me while Miki bounces around beside her like a joyful dog expecting a treat. Sakura just stares at us like she’s planning a killing spree and is trying to work out who to start with.
“She had a bit of trouble on the stairs,” Hiroshi volunteers when it becomes clear no one’s going to talk.
“Stairs?” Haruka stares blankly like the entire concept is foreign.
“I fell down the stairs.”
“Oh my god, are you okay, Rin-chan?” My overly concerned cousin nearly barrels me over in her rush to comfort me.
“I’m fine,” I mutter. Really, I just want people to stop fussing over me.
“Takahashi-san, maybe you should take Waters-san to a hospital? She might need to get looked at.” Sakura is casual and friendly, but her eyes still glare at Hiroshi’s hand on my arm.
“I’m fine,” I assure them, my much-used catchphrase. Even if I did manage to break a leg, I’d probably still tell them I’m fine. I’d really like for my mother not to hear of this. “I just jarred it, that’s all. I’ll be right in no time.”
“Come on, we’ll skip Juku tonight, let’s get you home.” Haruka grabs me around the waist and Hiroshi finally let’s go, much to Sakura’s relief.
“I’ll help,” Miki pipes up as she grabs my arm, then in her usual energetic way begins bouncing on the spot. Each tug on my arm sends another jolt of pain across my wounded ankle. Oh, yay! Looks like I’ve got two babysitters, one of which is doing more harm than good, to make sure I get home safely. Super.
As I hobble away, well aware of everyone gawking at the scene I’ve caused, I can’t help but notice Sakura throwing herself into Hiroshi’s arms the moment we step away from them. I turn my gaze away from the lovely scene and that’s when my eyes catch on a certain blond kid standing near a café on the other side of the station. He’s there watching me, usual manga held open in one hand and clutching something small in the other. He mouths something at me and I can’t help trembling as his warning comes floating back.
‘Be careful on the stairs’.



Adam’s favourite scene

Darkness surrounds me. I don’t know where I am. Not Haruka’s room, that’s for sure. It’s much smaller, I can feel the walls closed in around me, just out of reach. The wooden floor beneath me sends chills up my spine as a feeling of familiarity crashes into me. It feels as though I’ve been in this room before, but I have no idea when. I squeeze my fingers tightly around the small box I didn’t even realise I was holding. Matches. I desperately want to light one, but it’s not time yet. What?
Laughter sounds from outside my tiny universe, little girls laughing, as if they’re enjoying my panic. The familiarity of their voices washes over me, making me want to find a way out of this darkness as if I’m going to greet some long-lost friends.
A shiver rushes down my spine when the girls sop their giggling and start repeating a single phrase in singsong whispers, seemingly from everywhere at once, “Watashi ni hikari o misete, samonakuba yami no naka ni nokose.” Their whispers become repetitive chanting, growing louder and louder until they’re booming in my ear. I try to make sense of what they’re saying, but I can’t get past the feeling that I’ve heard this all before. Concentrating on the words, I translate: Give me the light or keep me in darkness.
All of a sudden the voices cut off, plunging my tiny room into silence once more, allowing me to hear the one last whispered warning from the girls. “Teokure ni naru mae ni hi o moyase.”
Light a match before it’s too late.
I yank a match from the box and start striking it. Sparks fly but no flame appears.
Icy hands grasp my shoulders and the match tumbles unlit from my trembling hands. I scramble for another match as I feel the icy claws dig into my flesh, turning me to face it. Pop! A faint golden light springs to life in my hands as I come face to face with ... nothing. An empty closet with creaky wooden boards. I giggle with relief.
A puff of air—as if someone is blowing out a candle—and my match goes out. Out of the darkness a pair of glowing red eyes erupt. I can’t see what creature’s attached to those eyes, and I’m sure I don’t want to know. I can only stare as it approaches. I can only stare as it—
“Rin!” Misa’s voice screams as tiny hands give my shoulders a furious shake, jerking me awake.
Sweat cascades down my back and my breathing comes out in short, ragged gasps. Pushing myself into a sitting position, the tangled sheets around me suck at me trying to drag me down to the floor. I look around the dark room, disoriented. I’m not in some dark forgotten closet. Everything’s the same as when I went to sleep. Haruka is still asleep in the bed beside me, not disturbed in the slightest. Everything’s normal. Everything’s fine.
“You were having a nightmare, Rin.” Misa’s nervous gaze never leaves my face.
“It felt so real,” I mumble as I lie back down and stare up at the ceiling. “Almost like it was really happening.”
“No. It was just a nightmare,” Misa says in a quick breath as she places her small hand against my forehead.


“Yeah.” I force my eyes closed, afraid that I’ll see those glowing red eyes again as soon as I do. My heart jackhammers as I briefly panic that I’ll have to spend my first day of life in Japan wandering around on zero sleep, but slowly I feel myself drifting off to sleep again. This time, thankfully, without dreams.



~ Giveaway ~







Cheree Smith



Cheree Smith
Cheree Smith lives in the coastal city of Newcastle in Australia where she is studying graphics design and photography. When she is not hard at study, she is busy writing paranormal, horror and dark stories for young adults. She enjoys listening to and learning about legends and myths, watching scary movies and dreaming up new worlds where monsters can come alive. When she is not in her writing cave she can be found listening to music, even dabbling in the occasional writing of music or reading.
Website –  Blog – Twitter – Facebook – Goodreads


Adam Smith
Adam Smith
Adam Smith has always loved the Japanese culture, which began with his love of anime and manga. This helped him accomplish his goal of moving to Japan to become an ALT (assistant language teacher) in Iwate, Japan. When he’s not reading, writing or speaking Japanese, he is working on paranormal, horror and dark stories for young adults with his sister, Cheree.
Twitter – Goodreads





Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Book Review: The Rest Falls Away (GVC #1) by Colleen Gleason

Series: The Gardella Vampire Chronicles: Victoria #1
Publisher: Allison & Busby Limited
Publication Date: 2 January 2007
Genre: Paranormal Romance

Source: Purchased

Format: Paperback
Length:431



Overview:

Beneath the glitter of dazzling 19th-century London Society lurks a bloodthirsty evil...


In every generation, a Gardella is called to accept the family legacy of hunting vampires, and this time, Victoria Gardella Grantworth is chosen, on the eve of her debut, to carry the stake.

~ Fan-Made Book trailer ~

(Please note the trailer contains scenes which appear further along in the series)





Previous posts:
Author Interview

My Review:
The Gardella Vampire Chronicles (GVC) is the perfect blend of paranormal adventure & historical fiction. The first time I read this book I could not finish it fast enough. This time round I could sit back and savour the details. Fair enough - I read this series quite a few years ago so I was a bit fuzzy about the details but I loved it all the same and probably more this time around.

PS this is one of those series that I recommend to everyone as an undiscovered gem if they haven't heard of it!!!

Characters & Storyline: 5/5
Colleen creates a wonderful group of characters. Each one has something that makes them awesome and you can't help but fall in love with each and every one a little bit more with every chapter.

Victoria - is the main character. She is the next gardella venator and what a feisty one she is! Victoria is a bit of a hot head in some ways but she has a heart of gold and every emotion she goes through - you experience with her. I felt her heart ache and her joy. Her frustration and her success. Victoria is an amazing character.

Max - Max is the broody male. He is macho, mysterious and takes being a venator very seriously. He cares more for Victoria than he cares to admit even to himself. With each layer that you uncover you just want to know more! His banter and frustration with Victoria is something to keep an eye on!

Sebastian -  Oooooh I love Sebastian to bits. I love Max too but I just love Sebastian a little bit more! He is your typical bad/good guy. He walks the line between wanting to be good and mingling with the dodgy so carefully. Sebastian is definitely my favourite character - even though its so hard to choose! *Sigh*

Phillip - My heart is so tender and broken when it comes to Victoria and Phillip. Love truly does make one weak and the price is always high. 


Plot, Pace, Writing style: 5/5  
Colleen has such a wonderful writing style that just sucks you in and the flow of the story is smooth. She keeps you on your toes with a fantastic plot and tugs at all your emotions. The pace is nice and quick and I love the chapter headings.



The ending broke my heart the first time and it broke my heart again this time around. 


Cover talk: 5/5 
The new cover is gorgeous!! Insta-love <3

Final Thoughts: 
This remains one of my favourite authors and I will definitely be re-reading the rest of this series.

My Rating:

Books in the series / Other books by this Author:

Gardella Vampire Chronicles


Envy Chronicles




Author Bio:
Award-winning, NEW YORK TIMES and USA Today bestselling author Colleen Gleason has written more than twenty books for major publishers such as Penguin Group, Harlequin Enterprises, Chronicle Books, and HarperCollins (as Joss Ware). Her books have been translated into seven different languages.



Colleen lives in the Midwest United States where she is fortunate enough to be working on her next book. 

She loves to hear from readers via her website, Facebook, or GoodReads.

Author Links: Goodreads l Website l Twitter




Love


Chanzie